When padrón peppers come into season, they signal the winding down of summer. They cook quickly, so they are perfect for those lazy nights when you’d really rather just eat than cook. While they’re frying, you can chop up some nice cheese and sausage, open a bottle of red wine or a nice hoppy beer, and rip a hunk of bread and voila: Dinner! …with randomly very spicy peppers. Did I forget to mention that part?
BLISTERED PADRÓN PEPPERS
2 pounds padrón peppers
4 tablespoons olive oil
Large flake sea salt of choice (Smoked maldon or paprika-infused suggested)
Large saute pan or wok
First off, where do you find these wonderful things? Try your local farmer’s market, or check your town for a Spanish or Latin American specialty food store. Shishito peppers, a similar East Asian variety, are a great substitution. If you’re growing your own, be careful: sometimes these peppers naturally select and become insanely spicy in as little as five years. My mom’s batches now are inedibly hot!
Give the peppers a good rinse in the sink and dry with a clean kitchen towel. Meanwhile, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in your large pan of choice on the stove. Keep your heat medium-low through this process so there will be nice, even cooking.
Another key thing thing to excellent roasted padrón peppers: don’t crowd the pan! Never have more than will cover the bottom of your skillet cooking at once. Toss them and turn them, for about four minutes, until they compress easily with the tongs. The smaller ones will cook a little more quickly, so fish them out as needed.
Salt generously and let the Spanish Roulette begin! I’ve been told that about 30% of these peppers are hot, but it seems to vary depending on who is growing them. It’s a good idea to keep a drink close by if you get hit!